October 2010 Books

"Viriconium nights" (M. John Harrison)

"Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 (Cambridge Latin American Studies)" (Inga Clendinnen)

"The honourable history of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, (The fortune play books)" (Robert Greene)

"The Malcontent (New Mermaids)" (John Marston, W. David Kay)

"The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)" (Stephen King)

"Yucatan Before and After the Conquest" (Diego de Landa)

"The President Electric: Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Performance (Theater: Theory/Text/Performance)" (Timothy Raphael)

"Measure for Measure (Folger Shakespeare Library)" (William Shakespeare, Paul Werstine)

"Lieutenant Nun" (Catalina de Erauso, Michele Stepto, Catalina De Erauso, Gabri Stepto)

"Performing Bodies in Pain: Medieval and Post-Modern Martyrs, Mystics, and Artists (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History)" (Marla Carlson)

"Timon of Athens (Folger Shakespeare Library)" (William Shakespeare, Paul Werstine)

Shutting Out the World

Sitting on the bus Thursday morning on my way to teaching Intro to Performance and the movie moment happens: an attractive woman makes eye contact and sits next to me. Her body language indicates that she would be open to talking with me (and let me be clear here, I’m not expecting that she is open to anything more than a friendly conversation and do not read this invitation as anything more than it is). However, there’s a problem. I have, as usual, my earphones in and will need to take them out in order to begin a conversation. Which I do in as subtle a way as possible so as not to appear too eager and you know what, we had a pleasant conversation for a few minutes and how knows, maybe meeting for coffee or a drink will occur if we see each other on the bus again.

But that’s not really the point I wanted to make.

This incident reminded me just how isolated I usually make myself in public with my earphones and music. How many encounters (not necessarily with pretty women) have I not had simply because there was no space for casual observations on the weather or the the elevators at school or the myriad of other small conversation openings that might occur to two humans in the same space?

Now, I generally don’t like the noise of a city or on the bus or traffic, etc., and I love music, and I carry an iPhone that let’s me listen to my favorite Internet radio station in the world Radio Paradise anywhere I like, so it feels entirely natural to plug myself into my music whenever I leave my house.


I am going to try an experiment. I am going to go for just 3 consecutive days next week without listening to music while I am out and about. Just three days. I can do that. It will feel odd and perhaps be uncomfortable on the bus or, especially, when waiting a while for the bus at night. However, it will only be for a few days, so I can deal.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Why Science?

I am totally guilty of spreading around the OMGLookIt’sAMcDonaldsHamburgerThatWon’tDie meme, but I came across a really great article today about why observation is not science:

Steve Novella writes:

Let’s consider what variables might be interesting to control for with the “rotting hamburger” question. The most obvious one would be to set out McDonald’s hamburgers (more than one so that we can at least do some statistics) and compare them to a group of hamburgers that are home cooked with known ingredients vs hamburgers from another restaurant chain. But there are other variables also. How well are the hamburgers cooked (which relates to their moisture content at the beginning of the experiment)? There are many environmental conditions that should also be controlled for, if not varied to see their effect: humidity, temperature, ventilation, and light exposure. Link

So, yeah. Let’s make a deal, you and I, to try and not just accept observations that confirm an already held bias (McDonalds can still be bad and evil for so many reasons regardless of their burger’s state of decay, or lack thereof). M’kay?

Oh, and while we are at it, let’s look at why science trumps “common sense,” regardless of what most people might believe:

My favorite line: “We may stare into infinity, but we are unprepared to comprehend it.”

I wrote a poem

Here it is:

Somehow Brittle

Like an old china cup, stained,

thin from use (though I am far from thin) and chipped

On the edge of a counter, poised.

The slightest of bulls,

      those dark eyes, that hot breath

and laughing air fills me, folds



The hairline crack caused by the shaking, pale, and delicate

hand of a Countess,

on a cool November night

      in 1847

as she watched, with dry and grey eyes

the creation of a deathmask

      Sarah’d been only four, pretty blond ringlets

for the fifth of her children and the third to die young

when she set down the cup

hard (too hard)

becomes all of me as I kiss the floor

in a thousand pieces

and think once of you.

Ahh, the days of hair

My dad sent me this picture from some old University of Rhode Island yearbook.

Somehow, I’m not a young man any more. How’d that happen?

Oh, right. Time.

I had a huge crush on Beth Corets back then and we would occasionally and idly talk about running off to Ireland where she would bake bread and I’d write. Or something like that, I don’t really remember the details. She married the guy she met toward the end of our time at college and they have a beautiful family and we got in touch a couple of years ago through Facebook. I do hope that the next time I’m in her city I’ll be able to see her and reminisce about those old days.

I also never told her how much I liked her back then, probably just assuming that it was incredibly apparent. I wrote her a poem once. It’s not very good. In fact it’s kind of embarrassingly bad, though terribly heartfelt. I’ll post it here if I get at least 6 people to leave a comment with the name of someone they once had a crush on but never told that person.

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